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Eurbanlab - Validating sustainable urban innovations

Eurbanlab - a consortium of European market parties and research institutes – aims to accelerate the dissemination and application of sustainable innovations in urban renewal projects. Eurbanlab validates the sustainable impact of systemic innovations. Successful ideas, innovative concepts and technologies are then shared through a European platform which will facilitate further application.

As the built environment accounts for an average of 70% in global carbon emissions, the need for a systemic approach to sustainable urban renewal is exemplified. Although the evidence-base of innovative sustainable construction projects is growing within the European Union, the projects remain local and small scale. As it often unknown to investors which innovations are offered on the market, and the sustainable impact of innovations remain uncertain, successful sustainable solutions do not systematically find their way to the market. In recent years, the market has shown that sustainable urban development is possible. Investors such as municipalities, housing corporations and plan developers, are looking for practical guidelines and examples of successful innovations with which they can work in the local context. So there is demand for sustainable solutions and there is a supply of innovations, but the transition to a sustainable urban environment is delayed by uncertainties.

Validation & Propagation of Innovations

For this reason, Eurbanlab brings a combination of products and services to the market to support an acceleration in the transition towards a low-carbon urban environment. The consortium has worked on the development of an indicator-based assessment method that gives confidence and trust in sustainable innovations (products, technologies, services and systems). This method, the "Benchmark for Urban Innovations" (B4U), learns from successful innovations and predicts the success of project development plans and helps to improve new construction projects. The method provides insight into the sustainable impact of construction projects (People, Planet & Profit), evaluates the development process of projects, and the potential for replicability and upscaling of the applied innovations. In addition, supply and demand are brought together in an online marketplace where validated innovations are offered and shared.

Eurbanlab in the future

Within the Netherlands, ARCADIS, TNO and the University of Utrecht are jointly responsible for the further development of Eurbanlab. To date, about 20 European partners, such as Vinci, GDF-SUEZ, Imperial College and Stadshavens Rotterdam, have joined the consortium.
Eurbanlab aims to expand its consortium to 40 partners, with industrial companies, developers and investors as the main target group. At the end of 2014, Eurbanlab should be an independent organization which carries out independent evaluations, offers advice on project proposals and provides the community with practical examples and insight in the field of sustainable urban innovation.

Peter Bosch Msc

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